Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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Back when I was flying a great deal, people would often ask me where I lived, and I would frequently answer with the name of the airline I flew on the most. Now, when I hear of airplane crashes and disasters, it kind of hits me personally. I think it does anybody who has been a frequent flyer. Whether you're a flyer or not, though, there are images of certain airline tragedies that kind of forever imprint on your memory. One of those for me was the ValuJet crash in the everglades. It's been a number of years now, but the entire plane and all its passengers just vanished in the swamp.
But to one man, there's another image related to that crash. According to one news report, he used his I.D. to help his friend purchase his ticket for that flight. That friend didn't have sufficient I.D. with him at the time. And the man who bought the ticket watched his friend and all those other passengers boarding. The man who bought the ticket simply said, "I cannot forget their faces." And then he was quoted as saying, "If only there had been some signs of what was going to happen. If only I had known to warn them."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Passengers Off the Fatal Flight."
Now, if anyone had a warning of what would have happened to that fatal flight, you know they would have done everything possible to keep the passengers from going. But seldom do we have such a warning. When it comes to when the people around us will go into eternity, we have all the signs, all the warning we need. God tells us in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, "Those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord."
Without the Savior, no one we know is going to be able to get to heaven. That means hell. Now, our word for today from the Word of God, Proverbs chapter 24, verse 11, "Rescue those being led away to death. Hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?"
See, if you know people on a flight that leads to death, your responsibility is obvious. Rescue them! But if you look around at most of Jesus' followers today, we're not in a rescue mode. There's little sense of the life-or-death urgency about introducing those around us to Jesus. We need to ask, "Do we really believe the people we know will be lost forever if they don't know Christ? Do we really believe they're spiritually dying?"
Someone suggested to me recently, they called Christians practical Universalists. Now, in theological circles, a Universalist basically is someone who believes that everyone will eventually make it with Christ or not. Practical Universalists probably don't believe that, they believe that people must have the Savior to go to heaven; they just don't act like it. They act like the people who think that folks are going to make it without Jesus. Yet the Bible says, "There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Without the man who died to pay for our sins, we'll have to pay for them.
What about the people you live with, you live close to, the people you work with, you go to school with? You see some of those faces? The Bible clearly teaches that sin has an eternal death penalty and that Jesus and only Jesus died to pay that death penalty. And that we will pay that death penalty for our sins if we don't accept the payment Jesus made because of His love for us.
The people around you are on a flight that ends in eternal death and you and I have the information that can save them. Pretty clear, our responsibility, huh? "Rescue those who are being led away to death." Begin to pray daily by name with life-or-death passion for the people around you. Ask God for the words and the opportunity to tell them about your Jesus.
You know what God's Word says, and He's the final word. You know where the Christ-less flight is headed. You can see their faces. Be the one who gets them off that fatal flight and onto the one that will take them to eternal life.